January 14, 2023 Subject:
A bit about Powel Crosley, Jr's sign-off program
Crosley had purchased a medium sized Wurlitzer pipe organ for his WLW radio studios. He instructed his crew to create a sign-off program to end the broadcast day. Nothing like the eye-opening jazzy dance band music then in vogue.
Twenty four hours later the first "Moon River' program was broadcast almost at the stroke of midnight ending the Roaring Twenties and ushering in the Great Depression.
There was an organ intro, the poem opening the Moon River, followed by softly spoken poetry then a solo or small ensemble vocal song. One or two repeations of these two acts completed the program which then ended with the reading of the Moon River sign-off poem. The pipe organ played softly throughout the program. Earliest programs included a soft violin as part of the drifting off to sleep format.
These 15 minute recordings were transcribed by WLW to be broadcast from another radio station, not from WLW itself. Also, only these transcribed programs featured a sponsor's message. No Moon River program broadcast from the WLW studios were ever sponsored.
None of the organists, singers or poetry readers were ever identified on the programs. Staff members were used if their talents were suitable for the Moon River's format.
Lee Erwin and Fats Waller were two of the earlier organists, while the Clooney Sisters and Devore Sisters were among the vocalists.
Two 1-hour special programs were broadcast - a "15th Anniversary" and a "Moon River Returns."
The latter was broadcast after Crosley cancelled the program citing lack of listenership. A year later, the "Returns" program announced its reappearance in the WLW lineup due to listener demands.
June 2, 2012 Subject:
Good sound quality, but far from my favorite as a radio program (though I'm certain a great laxative for those with insomnia). Two errors:
#30 'Meeting At Night' is a Duplicate of #4.
#27 'Jenny Kissed Me' is a Duplicate of #42.
August 9, 2009 Subject:
Swan Song of a Civilisation ?
Mature and beautiful -- the America which was "free, white and 21". She was ready to begin really doing something, rather than merely survuving as a bastard child of British, hence European and Western, Civilisation. But two world wars destroyed that; as H. J. Eckenrode wrote in his 'Jefferson Davis, President of The South' (concluding chapter, 'The Moral'): the future will be more comfortable and secure; there will be less excellence, but also less danger; the leveling forces of democracy will force down the creative spirit and chain it, but the chains will be light and within their bounds, comfortable.
Moon River is a programme which is the last of Western Civilisation, like 'the last train' in Damon Knight's short story of that name: '"When's the next train, Station Master? There is none, replied the uniformed clerk." "No," exclaimed the weary traveler irritably; "Is it tomeorrow morning, tomorrow night, in the afternoon; when is it, I ask you?!" Station Master turned like the dancers in one of the ancient European town hall public clocks of bygone centuries, to face the stranger in the dim light of the shade-less overhead hanging bulb, a bulb of the old days which evidently had been stored in crates, purchased all at once by some forward looking materiele administrator, the kind which had no frosting but was clear, if of low wattage: "You do not understand, Sir; that was the last train ... The Last Train"'
Is that to be so for America and Western Civilisation in the crashing decline of one or two generations? All I know is that here, at 'Moon River', everything yields -- to lovely sleep!